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Jul 24, 2009

Sven's return, Lavezzi's lunch

This was the week in which Emmanuel Adebayor signed for Manchester City, Sven Goran Eriksson shocked the world by returning to England - at Notts County - and the Napoli president had a few choice words to say to Ezequiel Lavezzi.

Eto'o and Zlatan to swap clubs, Vuvuzela green light - Friday, July 17

Last week ended with some truly spectacular news, as rumour became fact with the confirmation that a swap deal for Samuel Eto'o and Zlatan Ibrahimovic could actually happen. A €45m fee paid to Inter on top of the arrival of Eto'o at the San Siro, not to mention the season-long loan of Alexander Hleb, was on the cards.

Barcelona president Joan Laporta claimed that he had come to a complete agreement over the terms of the deal with his Inter counterpart. Of course, it was then left up to the players to sort out their own personal terms.

While most of the world was watching transfers with a keen eye, some were busy planning for the 2010 World Cup. Nevermind that the stadiums aren't built yet, or the transport system is a bit of pain, the real issue was whether the African trumpet - the vuvuzela - would be allowed at the finals next summer. And it is. ''One would have to take away the cow bells from Swiss fans and ban English fans from singing," Hans Klaus, director of communications at FIFA, told reporters. ''It will be a World Cup with African sound."

Ade signs for City, Marquinhos bares all - Saturday, July 18

Manchester City sealed another high-profile deal on Saturday night as Emmanuel Adebayor signed for them from Arsenal for around £25m. The Togo striker slots in alongside Carlos Tevez and Roque Santa Cruz, as well as City's 400 other strikers, and was quite happy to tell everyone that his move to Eastlands was not based on money. Arsene Wenger, meanwhile, claimed that he was in no rush to splash the Ade cash. Although he's never been one to hurry to spend money.

Meanwhile, over in Japan, Brazilian forward Marquinhos caused a bit of a stir by baring his underwear after putting his shorts on back-to-front before a game. Kashima Antlers' chief Kazumi Ohigashi issued a stern rebuke (and perhaps a pair of cycling shorts) to the striker, who chose to redress himself in front of a packed stadium.

Owen hits back, Leonardo keen on Becks - Sunday, July 19

Michael Owen bagged his first goal for new club Manchester United on Saturday and wasted very little time in having a go at his critics the following day. The striker has been hounded by criticism since his £17m move to Newcastle really didn't work out and he hit back, saying: "If you don't score and you don't win, you are wrong to have a helicopter and fly home each week to see your kids. You are wrong to have a business outside of football. You are wrong to plan for the future.'' Sorry to break this to you Mike, but United fans haven't really taken to you either and you're even scoring goals. Perhaps it's something else?

Former England teammate David Beckham could probably empathise after he was booed for playing for LA Galaxy, by their own fans. However, Beckham has chosen to jet out of the country as a means of escape in the past and could be set to do so again, with AC Milan coach Leonardo claiming that he would like the winger back at the San Siro.

Xabi eyes Real move, Pep eyes Eto'o exit - Monday, July 20

Real Madrid continued to chase their targets, with Xabi Alonso the latest to find himself in their sights. The Liverpool midfielder stopped short of saying that he definitely wanted to make the move to the Bernabeu, but did claim that it was an ''impressive project'' that Florentino Perez was putting together, and that "it's a matter that involves three parties, including myself.'' Sounds to us like he'll move if Real stump up enough cash for the Reds to buy a replacement and David Silva/Ashley Young.

While Madrid buy players, Barcelona look keen to sell as manager Pep Guardiola claimed that Samuel Eto'o was surplus to requirements. "I am convinced that the best thing for Barca is for Eto'o to leave,'' he said, while waiting for the ink to dry on Brazilian forward Keirrison's paperwork from Palmeiras.

Pompey are taken over, China's 'fishy' transfers - Tuesday, July 21

Portsmouth fans got some good news on Tuesday as Dubai-based businessman Sulaiman Al-Fahim finally completed his takeover of the club. With players flying out of the club left, right and centre, the fans were due something to cheer them up and the fact that they now have a billionaire in charge could be just the ticket. We'll have to wait and see which players they'll bring in first though.

They shouldn't look at China for any players though, as Chinese Super League club Liaoning have hit out at the 'fishy' transfer process in the country. Having sold Dai Lin for £356,212 to a Bosnian club, they were dismayed to see the same player return to a Super League rival for just £44,000 two months later. Smells a little funny to me, but at least the league are putting a stop to the ''loophole''.

Sven's biggest challenge, Masch wants a move - Wednesday, July 22

Wow. Every now and then something crops up in the footballing world that you really did not expect. The return of Sven Goran Eriksson could have been expected, but to where? Chelsea? Portsmouth? No ... try Notts County, newly taken over by a Middle Eastern group. The Football League's oldest club, currently in League Two, brought in the former England manager as Director of Football to try and get the side back to the Championship within five years. ''His biggest challenge'' yet, apparently, and it has absolutely nothing to do with the money.

Something that has got to do with money is Javier Mascherano's move to Barcelona. The Argentine is reportedly unhappy at being paid a meagre amount at Anfield - in the region of £30,000-a-week if some papers are to be believed - and could swap England for Spain. Imagine if the Reds spent all their time worrying about losing Xabi Alonso and then Mascherano slipped out of the back door.

Maradona at Pompey, Lavezzi to be eaten? - Thursday, July 23

Maradona was in the news on Thursday, as Portsmouth's takeover dealings linked the Argentine legend with a move upstairs at Fratton Park. One of the greatest players in the game was reportedly interested in the move, according to his lawyer; but we'll await full confirmation and a detailed list of potential transfer targets before we decide whether it's legitimate or not.

Perhaps one of his first potential signings might be Ezequiel Lavezzi, who is not happy at Napoli. Hilarious quotes from club president Aurelio De Laurentiis saw him slate the striker for his commitment and outrageous demands, as he said: ''Lavezzi scored seven goals, it's not as if he scored 27.'' Now that's fair enough, but quite what he meant by the next gem is up for debate: ''If an actor had behaved like him he would have been eaten,'' he claimed, while adding 'Lavezzi soup' to the new match-day menu at the Stadio San Paolo.

Oh, and Thursday also saw Samuel Eto'o finally agree his move to Inter Milan. Just as soon as he signs the contract.

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